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Wadsworth chef heads to Gitmo to serve troops

September 23, 2012

Dimitri Kallianis begins whiskey shrimp saute process his restaurant. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

Dimitri Kallianis begins a whiskey shrimp saute process at his restaurant. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 22, 2012 2:24AM

WADSWORTH ? Local restaurant owner Dimitri Kallianis is flying into the naval base at Guantanamo Bay in a military jet next week, handpicked by celebrity chef Guy Fieri to be one of the ?Mess Lords? to cook for the military.

This is the first time Kallianis will have to represent The Shanty, Captain Porky?s and his family?s The Lonely Olive Tree olive oil brand in an international arena.

?I?m really proud that I can represent a small town like Wadsworth on a global stage,? Kallianis said.

He will be putting The Shanty twist on Vietnamese banh mi pork meatballs and Southern black-eyed pea salad for U.S. troops at ?Gitmo? in Cuba. He will also get to promote The Lonely Olive Tree Greek olive oil in Cuba.

Kallianis has been a featured chef previously on national television. He was a guest on Fieri?s ?Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? TV show on the Food Network and has also cooked meals at military bases around the country.

?I?m very fortunate to have a relationship with the Food Network,? Kallianis said. ?I understand there?s been tensions with our government and Cuba, but food is universal.?

The olive oil he?ll promote in person in Cuba is made from olives grown in groves of the Kallianis family in Sparta, Greece. The organic, extra virgin olive oil is used in preparing dishes at The Shanty and Captain Porky?s. Both are side-by-side at Route 41 and Wadsworth Road.

Since The Lonely Olive Tree business was launched earlier this year, it is now being sold in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Sydney, Australia, and regions of Greece. It is also still available at The Shanty and Captain Porky?s in Wadsworth, Kallianis said.

He is also finalizing a contract with Reinhart Food Service to distribute The Lonely Olive Tree olive oil.

?We?re going to be able to get both from the food service and grocery end. People as retail customers and in the hotel industry will be using The Lonely Olive Tree,? Kallianis said.

Also coming up is body soap and hand lotion made from the organic olive oil produced at the Kallianis groves, he said. There will be rosemary, honey and goat?s milk body soaps. These should be available by the holiday season, Kallianis said.

The soap and lotions are part of the The Lonely Olive Tree brand.

As these other projects expand, Kallianis has not forgotten about The Shanty. There are 14 new menu items this year.

?My main purpose is still to be at this restaurant and spending time with my customers,? Kallianis said.


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